Russia expressed alarm on Friday that no date or venue had been agreed for a new round of talks between global powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.
Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium for several atomic bombs if refined to a high degree but it may still be a few years away from being able to build a nuclear-armed missile if it decided to go down that path.
New intelligence information obtained by Israel and four Western countries indicates that Iran has made greater progress on developing nuclear weapons than the West had previously realized, according to Western diplomats and Israeli officials who are closely involved in efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.
We should not be too surprised that Iran continues to defy international calls to open its nuclear program to greater scrutiny and transparency. Even as the toughest U.S. sanctions yet were enacted, and Europe was considering a ban on Iranian oil imports, the militant theocracy threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly 40 percent of the world's seaborne supply of crude oil flows.
Israel, the United States and Iran have all gone deep into mixed-signals territory. Conversations with Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, left one prominent journalist convinced that Israel will strike Iran by year’s end. Yet two weeks ago, Barak had said that any possible Israeli attack on Iran is “far off.”
The Obama administration is engaged in a full-court press to persuade Israel that Iran’s nuclear threat can be contained short of war. The U.S. lobbying has received a mixed reception from Israel, where the Netanyahu government has not ruled out a unilateral strike on Iran.
The issuance of a U.S. visa to Mohammad Khatami, former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran until he was succeeded by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Khatami's presence this week on
U.S. soil, is an insult to the American people, a slap in the face to Iran's pro-democracy movement, a mockery of the immigration and anti-terrorism laws and a continuation of the schizophrenic nonpolicy of the U.S. State Department.